Sibling Rivalry

Maggie is about to become a big sister.

She has no idea what that means just yet. Even though her little friend Martha has recently become a big sister to baby Woody I can only imagine that they haven’t had many serious conversations about how that has worked out for her, seeing as they are both under 2. But..it’s as if she does know or at least suspect that there is something pretty big afoot and she’s not sure if she’s particularly happy about it. Recently she has becoming very clingy to her mummy and while she will willingly pull up my top and kiss The Bump, she very quickly pulls it back down again saying ‘Bye bye baby’.

I must say that I am extremely nervous about her reaction to the impending arrival of her little brother or sister. Like most first-borns I imagine, she is completely indulged, spoilt with love and attention, adored and admired by her doting parents and the apple of our eye. Imagine the shock of being ousted off her only-child pedestal by a little nipper who doesn’t even play with her and demands her mummy’s undivided attention for at least the first few months. Maggie completely rules the roost in our house and has no idea how to share her time or her possessions. She has no real meaning of the word ‘share’, even though she has obviously heard it being bandied about and often uses it when she’s trying to take a toy off someone else. ‘Share’, ‘Share’, she insists but really only means ‘Give it to me!’

One parenting expert Eileen Hayes wrote in 2004 that the age gap between children is thought to have an effect on the strength of sibling rivalry. It’s been found a gap of between two and four years often produces the worst jealousy, while there seems to be less of a problem if the gap’s larger (more than five years) or smaller (less than 18 months).
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There will be almost 21 months difference between Maggie and Baby, so according to the theory books things might work out just fine. We plan to do all the recommended things like buying a present for Maggie from the new baby and making sure we give her plenty of encouragement and attention, even when she is being too ‘helpful’. But nature has its own way of working and hopefully it will simply be in Maggie’s nature to look after and love her little brother or sister. After all, aren’t siblings the best thing ever???

I wrote in an earlier post 25 Things that I would love to have four children, mostly because I am from a family of four and couldn’t imagine life without my siblings. And it’s true! I’m sure we had our fair share of sibling issues and tissues over the years but I can honestly say that my life is enriched in so many ways by my gorgeous siblings. They are by far my best friends.

When I was expecting Maggie I secretly hoped she was a girl, despite everyone I met insisting that I was having a boy. Now I’m completely open to whatever is in store, although some day I definitely would love her to have a sister. They pull your hair and kick you right in the chin with their new roller-boots and sometimes are just downright mean, but then they’ll write you a letter saying they love you and offer to plait your hair and tickle your arm as you fall asleep and you’ll forgive them everything.

Sibling Rivalry? Let’s hope it’s more like Sibling Devotion.

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Me and my gorgeous siblings